Some young Yellowknife athletes will soon be able to return to the gym and ice rink. The territorial government confirmed it has granted several exemptions for groups to resume programs.
The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club and the city’s speed skaters are the latest to be allowed to reopen with modified programming for athletes aged 19 and under, following the earlier decision to give a hockey program the green light.
The three approved organizations oversee sports that were classified as phase three activities in the NWT’s pandemic recovery plan, but are now being allowed to run during the current phase two.
Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, said return-to-play plans and exemption requests were approved “through the same vigorous public health risk assessment methods we used to develop Emerging Wisely,” the name of the territorial recovery plan.
“We’ve been pleased to see a lot of creative thinking from organizations to make their environments safer for their clients and staff with smart changes in their standard operations,” Dr Kandola said in a news release.
The hockey skills camp will allow for a maximum of 15 skaters, two goalies, and three instructors, according to Brad Anstey, the president of the Yellowknife Sporting Club.
Anstey said the City of Yellowknife has told the club it plans to reopen the Yellowknife Community Arena on August 10. The club is hoping to run its skill program from that week until September 4, before school resumes.
The arena was closed in March as pandemic restrictions came into effect in the NWT.
Regular games will still be prohibited, Anstey said, and youth will have to follow strict social distancing guidelines like forgoing the use of dressing rooms.
Minor hockey associations have been invited to submit reopening plans in preparation for the upcoming season to public health as soon as possible to have them evaluated.